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Boxing: Okolie-Chamberlain weigh-in raises tensions

PUBLISHED: 13:00 03 February 2018

Lawrence Okolie during a public workout at the BXR Gym, London (pic John Walton/PA).

Lawrence Okolie during a public workout at the BXR Gym, London (pic John Walton/PA).

PA Wire/PA Images

For the last time before their showdown on Saturday night, Isaac Chamberlain and Lawrence Okolie took to stage for the weigh-in on Friday.

Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn – who promotes both fighters – was present as expected, with tensions running high in both camps in the build-up to the bout.

Chamberlain downplayed Okolie’s amateur career earlier in the week, but the latter hit back by claiming his opponent is “jealous” of his achievements, saying “The rivalry on his side stems from jealousy.”

The Hackney cruiserweight, who represented Repton and Dagenham in his amateur days and appeared for Great Britain at the ToRio 2016 Olympics, added: “I dislike what Isaac represents, it’s a cult of cruiserweights who come together on social media backing each other up to talk down to me – ‘So what he was in the Olympics, he’s rubbish, blah, blah’ – they discredit everything I have done.”

The expectant crowd in the O2 Arena grew bigger as time went by on Friday afternoon.

The weigh-ins started off with the undercards, which included Ted Cheeseman ahead of his fight with danger man Carson Jones.

Londoners Chamberlain and Okolie were the last ones to come out, with both looking as confident as ever.

Okolie weighed in at 14st 3lbs 5oz, while Chamberlain weighed in a bit lighter at 14st 1lbs 8oz.

Their body language was a complete contrast. On one hand Okolie seemed more relaxed and all smiles as he acknowledged the fans that cheered as they both came onto the stage.

On the other hand, Chamberlain looked more serious and focused. Hearn tossed a coin to decide on the walkout, with Chamberlain electing to enter the ring first on fight night.

A lot is at stake for the London duo, with Okolie currently 7-0 while Chamberlain has a 9-0 record.

Come the end of Saturday night, only one of them will still be unbeaten.

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